What factors determine a correct diabetes diagnosis? Find out at BetterHealthKare.
The number of diabetes cases has been in decline for quite a while and health officials are questioning the outcome. Even though many Americans are obese, their diabetes test results are coming back negative. Obesity is considered a primary contributing factor in type 2 diabetes, yet a diabetes diagnosis in overweight patients is falling in the U.S.
The strange thing is that obesity is on the rise in the States, yet new federal data reports that new cases of diabetes fell to approximately 1.3 million patients in 2017. In 2009, a new diabetes diagnosis was determined in 1.7 million patients. Health officials are concerned about the drastic change in numbers for diabetes cases.
Dr. Stephen Benoit of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is determined to find the cause for such a discrepancy in diabetes diagnosis that has occurred within the last decade. Some options that are being considered for dramatic change include:
- People are living a healthier lifestyle
- A change in the diabetes test itself, with the diagnostic threshold being lowered in the late 1990s
By lowering the threshold of the diabetes test, more patients were included in a positive diabetes diagnosis. This led to the inclusion of many potential diabetes patients being included in the positive diabetes test group. This decision narrowed the field for diagnosing new patients, and they are now just beginning to show up after years of decline.
Dr. John Buse, a University of North Carolina diabetes expert stated, “We might have mined out a lot of the previously unrecognized cases and so new diagnoses in the last several years are more likely to be actual new illnesses.”
Testing for diabetes has definitely changed for the better. The former type of testing required the patient to fast for 12 hours or receive consecutive draws of blood within a 2-hour period. The new test is called the hemoglobin A1c test and is used to diagnose diabetes, and also to determine if a patient’s sugar levels are remaining within range.
Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells, and it acts as a magnet for glucose (blood sugar). When glucose builds up in the blood, it binds itself to the hemoglobin in red blood cells. The A1c test measures the amount of glucose that is bound to the hemoglobin. The test can determine the range of glucose in the blood for about 3 months, which is the lifespan of red blood cells.
The range of diagnosis for the A1c test is as follows:
- Hemoglobin A1c levels at 6.5 percent or higher mean that you may have diabetes
- Hemoglobin A1c levels within the range of 5.7 percent and 6.4 percent indicate that you are at a higher risk of developing diabetes
- Hemoglobin A1c levels between 4.0 percent and 5.6 percent are in the normal range and indicate that you are not diabetic
The desired target range for patients with diabetes is below 7 percent. Hemoglobin A1c levels above that range indicate that you are at risk for developing serious diabetes health complications.
How do you know if you are diabetic? One way to determine if you have diabetes is to see if you are experiencing any of the diabetes symptoms:
- Hunger after eating
- Changes in urine to a sweet smell, plus frequent urination
- Numbness in the hands and feet
- Frequent infections
- Changes in eyesight, blurred vision
- Constant thirst
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, and have cause to suspect that you may have diabetes, see you doctor and take an A1c test. It is better to diagnose the disease early and learn how to manage it than let it progress without restraint.
Learn more about diabetes testing and diagnosis at www.BetterHealthKare.com